The hymn Gaude mater Ecclesia belongs liturgically to the feast of St Dominic on 4 August. This feast was not celebrated with any degree of pomp at the Pietà, so, although the hymn appears to date from the period of Ascende laeta, it was probably written to fulfil a commission from a Dominican house in Venice or elsewhere. The verses set are nos 1, 2 and 5 (specifically including the two that mention the name of the order’s founder). Vivaldi reproduces the symmetry of the quatrains by casting each stanza in binary form (with one couplet per section); an instrumental ritornello introduces each stanza.
from notes by Michael Talbot © 2003